The Baltimore Orioles were dealt a significant blow last night in a 3-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox. In a game marred by the ejection of Ublado Jimenez, a more significant loss was suffered by the Orioles. Second baseman Jonathan Schoop has been diagnosed with a Grade 1 PCL tear.
It is not a full tear, and the Orioles are optimistic that Schoop will not require surgery and will be able to return later in the season. The infielder also suffered a sprained MCL. There was no damage to Schoop’s ACL. There has been speculation that the injury occurred on the hard take out slide Pablo Sandoval unleashed on Schoop in the second inning last night, but the Orioles have debunked that notion. Schoop likely injured his knee while attempting to beat out a grounder and tripping over first base.
Buck on injury: “It didn’t have to do with the slide. We didn’t think twice about the slide last night & don’t tonight…”
— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) April 18, 2015
Schoop had made significant strides on the young season, and was leading all Major League second basemen with three home runs. His approach at the plate had shown massive improvement as he had greatly cut down on the number of pitches outside the zone he was chasing. After serving as a lead anchor to the bottom of the Orioles’ lineup for most of last season, Schoop was producing like an All-Star through the first three series of the season. His loss deals another big blow to the Orioles’ lineup as All-Stars Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy continue to rehab from their own injuries with no timetable set for either player’s return to the field.
With Schoop out, the offseason signing of Everth Cabrera looms even larger. Cabrera has filled in capably for Hardy in eight games this season with a .276 batting average and flawless play in the field. Cabrera will likely man shortstop full-time until Hardy returns, with Ryan Flaherty holding down second base.
When Hardy returns, look for Cabrera to shift over to second base until Schoop recovers from his knee injury. Cabrera is a far more capable offensive weapon than Flaherty, and also brings the element of speed to an Orioles lineup that is very stationary on the bases. Cabrera appears to have put his 2014 troubles behind him, and is flashing the talent that made him a 2013 All-Star. His signing was unheralded at the time, but with major injuries in the infield, Cabrera could turn into one of the more important signings in recent history for the Orioles.